Mythmaker by Natasha Trethewey

We lived by the words
of gods, mythologies

you’d mold our history to.
How many nights, you,

a young father, squint-eyed
from books and lamplight,

weaving lessons into bedtime-
the story of Icarus warning

to soar, (like me on my swing set)
not heeding a father’s words,

his fall likened to mine.
I’d carry his doom to sleep,

and that of Narcissus too,
his watered face floating

beautiful and tragic above
my head. My own face

a mirrored comfort
you’d pull me from. Late,

when my dreams turned
to nightmare, you were there-

Beowulf to slay Grendel
at my door. The blood on your hands

you’d anoint my head with.
You would have me bold, fearless-

these were things you needed
to teach me. Warning and wisdom.

You couldn’t have known
how I’d take your words and shape

them in creation, reinvent you
a thousand times, making you

forever young and invincible.
Not like now. Not like now.

Domestic Work
from domestic work


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